Well, I finally finished up my preliminary dissertation research over the weekend!! And I was able to relax today with some good friends and celebrate Independence Day! Peru gained independence in 1821, so this is the 194th anniversary of independence!!
I went over to my friend Karina’s this morning to cook lunch and have a small despedida. We do this every year I visit, though it’s less sad each successive year because every year I come back, the more confident they are that I’ll keep returning. I know it’s sound silly, but even though I told everyone I’d be back after I left in 2012, the first time many people saw me, they gasped and commented, ‘Que milagros!’–What a miracle it was that I had returned. Though honestly, I understand the surprise since most visitors come to fulfill whatever requirements they may have, like Peace Corps volunteers, researchers, or voluntourists, and then often never return. Actually, for months after the first time I left, whenever my friend was in Huaraz, the regional capital, with hers sons, the kids would ask all the tourists they saw in Huaraz if they knew me and when I would be coming back. It’s pretty cute 🙂 Here’s a picture of me with them after lunch!
This was just before we left for the fair in Huaraz, which they hold every year around this time though mid-August. It also just so happens that the Huaraz’s Independence Day was last week, so lots of festivities going on!!
At the fair, we met up with some of Karina’s husband’s siblings and their kids. Honestly, the kids must have outnumbered us adults there were so many of them! At the fair, we got rasparillas, which are flavored shaved ices. I always like to ask where the ice comes from because the tradition is that they actually harvest the ice from the different peaks of the Andes, though there are certain laws that prohibit this now. But every time I ask, the server always responds with a peak name, not an ice factory.
The kids rode some rides, bounced down some inflatable slides, and ate tons of fair food and snacks! We also watched the corrida, which is kind of like a bull fight, but there are mostly clowns rather than matadors. I’ll include some pictures below, but I can’t really explain why the clowns dress up in women’s clothes and other costumes… it’s still a mystery to me… though jokes and comedy are very culturally-rooted, so maybe that’s why it still seems odd to me…
And last but not least, here is a clip of the Peruvian National Anthem that was sung at the closing of the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto. It’s sung in Spanish followed by Quechua.